From cocaine money laundering to fake names: The long list of scandals at Credit Suisse


Credit Suisse, the 167-year-old bank and the second-largest lender in Switzerland, has run into deep trouble and said it would be borrowing up to $54 billion from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity. The move comes after its stock crashed as much as 30 per cent — stoking fears of a global banking crisis.

After being thrown a lifeline by the Swiss central bank, Credit Suisse’s shares soared 30 per cent. The Swiss-listed stock’s rally cooled slightly during the day’s trading, but the shares were still up 18.8 per cent as markets closed in the afternoon.

Thursday’s troubles at the bank, however, aren’t a one-off incident. The bank has had a string of scandals attached to it in recent times — affecting its reputation and confidence in investors.

Here’s a look back at some of the bank’s biggest scandals over the past few years.

2023 – Shares slump to its lowest

Credit Suisse, which began in 1856 when Alfred Escher founded Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (SKA) in Switzerland, on Wednesday saw its shares nosedive to historic lows, plunging more than 30 per cent to a record low of 1.55 Swiss francs (Rs 137.7). The bank regained some ground by the close, ending the day’s trading 24.24 per cent down at 1.697 Swiss francs (Rs 150).

The drop in value came after its main shareholder — Saudi National Bank (SNB) — said it would not invest any more money in the Swiss bank. Saudi National Bank became Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder, owning a 9.8 per cent stake, in November after the bank launched a capital raise to finance a major restructuring of the Zurich-based lender.

The comments by the SNB chairman spooked investors, who feared it could limit emergency cash from investors in the Middle East.

In response, Credit Suisse secured a $54 billion lifeline from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity, the first major global bank to get emergency funding since the 2008 financial crisis.

July 2022: Ulrich Koerner replaces Thomas Gottstein as CEO

Credit Suisse has been struggling with a management churn in recent years, the most recent of them in July 2022 when CEO Thomas Gottstein was forced out and replaced by Ulrich Körner.

CEO Thomas Gottstein was replaced last year. File image/Reuters

Gottstein’s two-year tenure at the bank was plagued with scandals and controversies, which saw the the company’s stock dropping nearly 60 per cent.

June 2022: Conviction for cocaine-money laundering

Perhaps, one of the biggest hits to its credibility came in June last year when the bank was convicted of failing to prevent money laundering by a Bulgarian cocaine trafficking gang.

A former employee was also found guilty of money-laundering in the trial, which included testimony on murders and cash stuffed into suitcases and is seen as a test case for prosecutors taking a tougher line against the country’s banks.

In finding the bank guilty, the court said that Credit Suisse shared responsibility for the money laundering because the bank’s management, legal team and compliance department failed to ensure that anti-money-laundering rules were being followed.

The Swiss court fined the bank two million francs (Rs 17.8 crore) for the money-laundering violation, confiscated 12 million francs (Rs 107 crore) held by the gang at the bank and ordered an additional payment of 19 million francs (Rs 170 crore) to cover funds it could not recover because of “internal deficiencies” at Credit Suisse.

Also read: Credit Suisse crisis: Does India have reasons to worry?

March 2022: Bermuda trial

A Bermuda court ruled in March last year that former Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and his family were due damages of more than half a billion dollars from Credit Suisse’s local life insurance arm.

A Bermuda court ruled in March 2022 that former Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and his family were due damages of more than $500 million from Credit Suisse. File image/Reuters

The court said Ivanishvili and his family were due the damages as a result of a long-running fraud committed by a former Credit Suisse adviser, Pascale Lescaudron. A client of Credit Suisse between 2005 and 2015, Ivanishvili alleged he racked up hundreds of millions in losses due to forged trades made by his Geneva-based private banker, Lescaudron, appointed to handle his investments in 2006.

Lescaudron was convicted by a Swiss court in 2018 of having forged the signatures of former clients, including Ivanishvili, over an eight year period, and admitted he falsified trades and hid mounting losses as part of a scheme that made him tens of millions of Swiss francs.

February 2022: Suisse Secrets leak

In February of the same year, the Swiss bank saw its secrets tumbling out into the open, causing great damage to its reputation. A Panama Papers-style leak revealed that Credit Suisse held more than $8 billion in accounts of criminals, dictators and rights abusers.

The bank then had flatly rejected the “allegations and insinuations” in the investigation, coordinated by the non-profit journalism group the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

January 2022: Chairman resigns

The year 2022 was not good for Credit Suisse and it all began in January when António Horta-Osório resigned as Credit Suisse chairman after twice breaking COVID quarantine rules in Switzerland and the UK, including to attend football and tennis matches in London.

“I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally,” he said. Credit Suisse immediately appointed the board member Axel Lehmann as its chairman.

October 2021: Tuna bond fraud

Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in connection with an $850 million (Rs 7,012 crore) loan to Mozambique meant to pay for a tuna fishing fleet.

Fishermen tend to their boats on the shores of the Paquitequete neighborhood in Pemba. About $200 million of the loan for a tuna fleet went in kickbacks to Credit Suisse bankers and Mozambican government officials. AFP

According to regulators, about $200 million (Rs 1,650 crore) of the loan went in kickbacks to Credit Suisse bankers and Mozambican government officials. The bank was aware of a huge shortfall between the funds raised and the value of boats bought but failed to disclose this to investors when the loan was restructured in 2016.

Credit Suisse also arranged a loan that was kept secret from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

March 2021: Archegos default and Greensill fund collapse

Credit Suisse lost $5.5 billion when US family office Archegos Capital Management defaulted in March 2021.

In the same month, Credit Suisse was also forced to freeze $10 billion of supply chain finance funds when British financier Greensill Capital collapsed after losing insurance cover for debt issued against its loans to companies.

Several investors have sued the bank over the Greensill-linked funds, with the bank still in the process of trying to “claw back money for clients”, said The Guardian.

The bank said in September last year that it had returned about $6.3 billion (Rs 52,000 crore) to investors, but has warned it may not be able to recover another $2.3 billion (Rs 19,000 crore) of losses.

March 2020: Spying scandal

Normally corporate espionage makes for a good plot for a movie. However, it came true in March of 2020. An investigation revealed that the bank had hiring private detectives to spy on former head of wealth management Iqbal Kahn after he left for arch rival UBS.

Credit Suisse “repeatedly played down” the spying allegations but in October 2021, the Swiss Financial market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said that the bank had planned spying operations on “seven occasions between 2016 and 2019, and carried out most of them”, reported Euronews.

The investigation led to the departure of chief executive, Tidjane Thiam.

2009: US sanctions breaches

Credit Suisse was fined $536 million in 2009 for violating US sanctions against Iran and several other countries, including Libya, Sudan, Burma and Cuba, between 1995 and 2007.

It was the “biggest such fine in the history of violations of US sanctions” and had the bank not cooperated, authorities said they would have “had to pay even more”, said Deutsche Welle at the time.

A retired Japanese yakuza crime boss. File image/AFP

June 2004: Money laundering for the Yakuza

In June 2004, a Credit Suisse banker was arrested for allegedly laundering ¥4.6 billion ($42.2 million) linked to Japan’s largest yakuza gang. He was later let off as he claimed he was unaware of the source of the funds.

July 1999: Tokyo ‘shredding’ party

A shredding party by employees of Credit Suisse bank in Tokyo led to its licence being revoked. For the unaware, a shredding party is when people gather and destroy documents that could be problematic for whatever reason.

Japanese authorities fined Credit Suisse after discovering that its bankers destroyed evidence related to an investigation into whether it was supporting companies to cover their losses. Since then, the bank got its licence back, and the employees got fired.

The Philippine president and first lady, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. File image/AFP

March 1986: Fake names for Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos

In 1995, Credit Suisse was among the Swiss banks ordered to return nearly half a billion dollars stored in the accounts of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, funds which the Philippines said was “plundered from the national treasury”, reported the Associated Press at the time.

It was revealed that Credit Suisse had opened accounts for the couple under the fake names “William Saunders” and “Jane Ryan”, helping to shield their funds from scrutiny.

With inputs from agencies

Read all the Latest NewsTrending NewsCricket NewsBollywood News,
India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Also Read



Article,4,ASE News,2,Business,23,codecanyon,3,DPR,1,Education / Employment,1,Entertainment,10,IANS – The Siasat Daily,3,India news,4194,Latest news,1,Madhy Pradesh,465,main,19,National,162,News,1,PTI – The Siasat Daily,3,Sports,11,World,22,World News,1958,
From cocaine money laundering to fake names: The long list of scandals at Credit Suisse
From cocaine money laundering to fake names: The long list of scandals at Credit Suisse
ASE News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content